Books for a physicist to learn sailboat design (preference for mutihulls)

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by pioneer_11, Mar 10, 2023.

  1. pioneer_11
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    pioneer_11 Junior Member

    Hi all, I'm a second year physics student hoping to learn some sailboat design. I have a particular interest in multihulls and specifically catamarans, if you are able to recommend books and/or resources to help me learn then I would be very grateful. Thanks.

    PS.
    I have seen a few companies taking about and showing off wing sails in recent years but haven't been able to find much detail on them, if you know of a good source on that I would also be very grateful.
     
  2. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    What do you want to design or engineer (i.e. "design" is about the look and use..."engineer" is about the ability to perform). The Statement of Requirements (SoR) is paramount. Often things that can be designed cannot be engineered and vice versa.

    FWIW, Naval Architecture is more like engineering and less like physics. A Physicist says "this is how it works"...and Engineer then states "this is how I can make it accomplish the things I want it to do".
     
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  3. oldmulti
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    oldmulti Senior Member

    Pioneer_11. If your maths is good get a second hand copy of "Principles of Yacht Design" by Lars Larsson and Rolf Eliasson. Also "Elements of boat strength for builders, designers and owners" by Dave Gerr. Learn the basics first then worry about catamaran design. Monohull design tells you about flotation, weight, stability strength calculations, materials concepts and use. Multihulls require a different though process but need an understanding of the basics first. Also look at Professional Boatbuilder magazine archives which have several articles on catamaran design and structure. Both power and sail. Good luck, its not that hard but catamaran designs can range from pure experience to FEA design. The pure experience with little maths often succeed as well as the fully engineered FEA designed boats, as no one can accurately predict loads in a seaway especially in a storm. Safety factors of 5 are normal and for home builders safety factors of 10 is not unknown.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2023
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  4. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Is this all leading up to possibly a final year research or design project involving wingsails?

    Another good book for beginners re boat design is 'How to design a boat' by John Teale.

    Re catamaran design, you can learn a lot, for no financial outlay, by downloading and studying the 'study plans' that many designers have available on their websites.
    Richard Woods has quite a few 'free' study plans for his designs here -
    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  5. pioneer_11
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    pioneer_11 Junior Member

    I'm interested in how sailboats work and I'd also like to go cruising some day. Therefore, more interested in the engineering than the design.

    As for your physicist vs engineer quote. I've spent the last few months doing an engineering challenge where I had to talk a lot of engineers out of "physicist" viewpoints and I also largely subscribe to the kraken school of yacht building. Don't worry, I may be a physicist but I've also got a healthy degree of scepticism.
     
  6. pioneer_11
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    pioneer_11 Junior Member

    No, I'm on a physics with theoretical astrophysics course so that wouldn't really fit. I've also been working on a project to calculate when satellites and/or space debis will fly though the path of a telescope (so we can shut the lens for a few seconds when they do and save a 10hr exposure image from being ruined) which may turn into my final year project.

    TBH I just find the technology very interesting and I'm struggling to work out why it isn't being more widely used given you get a lot more power out of them than traditional sails.

    And thanks for the recommendation, I'd seen his design overview but I didn't realise that he had design studies as well. I've seen a little of chris white's stuff as well which also looks interesting.
     
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  7. pioneer_11
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    pioneer_11 Junior Member

    Thanks, that sounds great. I'll take a look
     
  8. Manfred.pech
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    Manfred.pech Senior Member

    Terho Halme HOW TO DIMENSION A SAILING CATAMARAN
     
  9. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    Have a look at the technical writings of John Shuttleworth.
     
  10. catahoula
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    catahoula Junior Member

    I bought a copy of "The Aero-hydrodynamics of Sailing" by C. A. Marchaj, which is often quoted when reading about sail theory. It's a massive tome and for the most part way over my head. But a physics major might get a bang out of it.
     
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  11. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

  12. pioneer_11
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    pioneer_11 Junior Member

    is that this one Aero-hydrodynamics of sailing : Marchaj, Czesław A : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/aerohydrodynamic00marc/page/n7/mode/2up ? I've seen it before and thought it looked impressive but I wasn't sure how up to date it would be considering it's pre-computational (I know what can be done with computers is often over-hyped but I'm guessing there have been a few advances due to computational analysis)
     
  13. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    The theory is sound, forget whether it has the computational side.
    Computational analysis is just a 'tool'...nothing else....it follows the GIGO axiom too....
    Learn the basics first....
     
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  14. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    +1 to Ad Hoc's comments. There have been NO computational advances by computers in my 35+ years of doing this. Computers will do both correct and incorrect computations....they just do it faster. As I have said before...an axe and a chainsaw will both fell a tree, but neither determines which way it will fall. Learn to make the tree fall in the direction you want before worrying about computational speed.
     
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  15. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

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